Periodontal disease affects most people at some stage in life. However, according to a recent study that is published in Contemporary Clinical Dentistry, supplemental use of Q10 and tea tree oil may have potential benefits.
As part of the treatment of periodontal disease (gum disease), the dentist measures the gingival pockets and removes any tartar. The purpose of this study was therefore to compare the effect of local treatment with coenzyme Q10 and tea tree oil as a supplement to the conventional therapy. Earlier studies have even shown that supplements of coenzyme Q10 alone have a positive effect on the disease.
What is periodontal disease?
The disease starts with inflammation of the gum tissue (gingivitis). This is caused by dental plaque and tartar below the gum line where harmful bacteria form tissue-deteriorating enzymes. Once the immune system reacts, chronic inflammation may occur in the gingival pockets, causing the gums to bleed at the slightest touch.
The inflammation may go away if the plaque is removed, but if the condition continues, the inflammation spreads, eventually leading to periodontal disease (tooth detachment).
Chronic inflammation causes a massive production of free radicals, which are aggressive molecules that attack and destroy cells. Also, the gingival pockets become deeper with the risk that the tooth becomes detached and falls out.
What is Q10 - and why it is important for healthy gums?
Q10 is a unique coenzyme that has the following functions in all cells in the body:
- It plays a crucial role when the cellular "powerhouses" (the mitochondria) produce energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate)
- It functions as an antioxidant that prevents free radicals from destroying healthy cells
- It is vital for the membrane stability of cells and mitochondria
We humans can produce most of our Q10 by ourselves, but our endogenous production of the substance decreases after we reach out early twenties. In 1971 it was demonstrated that patients with periodontal disease lack coenzyme Q10 in their gum tissue. This makes the gums increasingly vulnerable to bacterial attacks and oxidative stress caused by free radicals during inflammation.
What is tea tree oil?
Tea tree oil is extracted from the leaves of the tea tree (melaleuca alterfolia) that grows in a limited area of Australia. The oil itself is an antiseptic with a wide bacteria-, fungus-, and virus-destroying spectrum. It has a cooling effect and stimulates the blood supply locally. Pure tea tree oil may only be used topically. Researchers have discovered that a dilution with 5-10% tea tree oil in most cases is sufficient for fighting various microorganisms.
The study and its results
For the study, the scientists used a gel with Q10 in a vegetable oil solution in a 1:9 ratio together with gel with 5% tea tree oil, or identical placebo, and inserted the treatment in the diseased gingival pockets with a seven-day interval.
15 patients with periodontal disease took part in the study. They were divided into three groups:
- Group 1 (control group) received conventional therapy and placebo
- Group 2 received conventional therapy plus Q10 gel
- Group 3 received conventional therapy plus Q10 gel and tea tree oil gel
The researchers measured the depth of the gingival pockets, the amount of dental plaque, and the bleeding tendency. After one month of treatment, there was a significant improvement in group 2 and group 3 (the effect was greatest in group 3). The scientists therefore concluded that coenzyme Q10 and tea tree oil are both effective as supplements in the treatment of periodontal disease.
Because of the limited size and duration of this study, the researchers call for more and larger studies in the future. It is also relevant to pay attention to earlier studies that have been conducted with regular Q10 supplements alone, which are far easier to use than the above mentioned therapies.
Did you know that periodontal disease may lead to cardiovascular disease?
There are many reasons to prevent and treat periodontal disease. Science and dentists have observed that many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, are often caused by infections and inflammation that originates from the oral cavity.
Supplements of Q10 may delay the development of periodontal disease
American, Japanese, and Swedish studies have shown that supplements of Q10 may delay periodontal disease and perhaps even stop the disease, altogether. Japanese researchers at the Nihon University School of Dentistry conducted a study of 45 adults with slight to mild periodontal disease who were given 150 mg of Q10 daily or a placebo (dummy pills) for two months. The participants in the Q10 group had less dental plaque, less gingival bleeding, and reduced gingival pockets depth. The study also showed that the participants in the Q10 group were bothered less by bad breath and they had increased antioxidant activity in their saliva.
It is assumed that Q10 has the following mechanisms of action against periodontal disease:
It helps cells produce energy
It serves as a powerful antioxidant that protects the cells
It supports the immune system
It helps control inflammation
Choose supplements with documetation
It is vital that the body can absorb coenzyme Q10 from supplements, so the nutrient can protect the cells and reach the mitochondria where the energy turnover takes place. It is therefore always a good idea to choose high-quality supplements that can document their bioavailability and effect. You can even buy a special toothpaste with coenzyme Q10 that enhances the effect of taking a Q10 supplement.
Because diseased gum tissue is vulnerable, and because healing of these tissues requires a massive energy turnover, the cells of the gum tissue depend on an adequate supply of coenzyme Q10.
Thorough dental hygiene is always important
Periodontal disease is not associated with pain and therefore often goes unnoticed so it is vital to visit the dentist regularly. Daily brushing and flossing (preferably after each meal) is recommended. It is best to use an electric toothbrush, and make sure to clean all spaces with a special brush, which is available from your dentist or the pharmacy. Dental floss and toothpicks are also useful.
Comparative evaluation of co-enzyme Q10 and Melaleuca alternifolia as antioxidant gels in treatment of chronic periodontitis: A clinical study. - PubMed - NCBI
Collaborative research with Nihon University: Effect of the reduced form of Q10 (Ubiquinol) on oral environment in periodontal disease. Kaneka Corporation
Pernille Lund Q10 - fra Helsekost til epokegørende medicin
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